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Tiger Leaping Gorge

Stones in Tiger Leaping Gorge

The Tiger Leaping Gorge is about 100 kilometers(62 miles) northwest of Lijiang Old Town lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain(Yulong Xueshan) and Haba Snow Mountain (Haba Xueshan), which is believed to be the deepest gorge in the world. From the top of the gorge you look down the steeply angled(70-90 degrees) mountain sides to the rushing Golden Sands(Jingsha) River with its 18 frothing rapids more than 200 meters(about 700 feet) below.

Naturally divided into three sections, the first section, which is the narrowest and uppermost section, is the mouth of the fast flowing Jingsha River. In the midst of the river's mouth is a large rock that is positioned at the gorge's narrowest section-only 30 meters (33 yards) wide. An ancient legend says that a tiger used this rock as its stepping stone so it could leap across from one side of the gorge to the other, which is how the gorge got its name.

As the river enters the middle section, it drops another 100 meters (330 feet) and its flow rate increases to an amazing speed. Here the thunderous rushing waters slam into sharp, large rocks and crash down into the river forming swirling whirlpools.

The gorge stretches about 15 kilometers (nine miles) and also affords people the possibility of rafting and drifting peacefully in its large quiet sections.